Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just What the Hell Is A Fellowship Anyways?

So today was my first day of my Renal Fellowship. I'm now officially a MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) Fellow. What the hell does this mean?

I always was slightly confused by the terminology as a kid (and I was certainly around it a lot, as my father is also a kidney doctor). He would talk about "this fellow I was working with today", and I thought he was referring to "the fellow" much as he would "the guy I was working with today" or "the dude I was working with today." It was not until much later that I realized that "the fellow" was an established academic position...

Anyways, here's how "the fellowship" fits into the whole medical training: I finished my Internal Medicine residency of three years in Philadelphia--at the end of that period, I had a choice: I could either go directly into practice as a general practitioner, or I could choose to "subspecialize" in something specific, in my case, nephrology (the study of kidneys). The fellowship in nephrology lasts 3-4 years during which you see patients with kidney disease and perform research related to kidney disease. So I'm going to see a hell of a lot of kidneys over the next few years...

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